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    Peabody men charged after police seize more than $500,000 in marijuana

    Three Peabody relatives are facing charges of running “sophisticated” marijuana growing operations after police executed two simultaneous raids on their homes, discovering nearly 500 marijuana plants, several high-capacity weapons, and an explosive device, authorities said.

    Justin Damico, 21, John Damico, 35, and Joseph Damico, 44, all pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Peabody District Court to multiple charges, including possession with intent to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to violate drug laws. Justin and John were also charged with possession of a large-capacity feeding device and possession of an infernal machine, the legal term for explosives, Peabody police said in a statement.

    Police said the three men were related, but did not specify how.


    Peabody and Saugus police, with assistance from the US Drug Enforcement Administration and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms/Explosives, executed two simultaneous search warrants on a Margin Street apartment and a Winona Street home.

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    Both investigations were “highly successful,” the statement said.

    The first collection of marijuana plants, along with several firearms and an explosive device, was discovered by police in the basement of the Margin Street apartment. A second collection of plants, in varying stages of growth, was located inside two bedrooms and along the exterior of the home on Winona Street, officials said.

    Approximately 500 marijuana plants total were seized from both homes, with a combined street value potentially exceeding $500,000, officials said.

    The firearms and explosive device were also confiscated, and two of the suspects’ gun licenses were suspended, officials said.

    Catalina Gaitan can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @catalina_gaitan.